KABUL: 22:19 (IST) Merkel condemns attack German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called the attack on Kabul airport "heinous".
22:15 (IST) Centre feared ISIS attack: Sources
Government sources told CNN-News18 that in the all-party meeting held today, the Indian government had said they feared an ISIS attack on Kabul airport.
Full fledged crisis, says US Senator
Senator Robert Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, in a statement called the situation unfolding in Kabul “a full-fledged humanitarian crisis.”
He said that “US government personnel, already working under extreme circumstances, must secure the airport and complete the massive evacuation of Americans citizens and vulnerable Afghans desperately trying to leave the country.”
“I understand that American personnel were among the casualties and my prayers are with the victims of this cowardly attack and their families,” Menendez said. “As we wait for more details to come in, one thing is clear: We can’t trust the Taliban with Americans’ security.”
Taliban condemns bombing outside Kabul airport
The Taliban condemned bombing outside Kabul airport, say it happened in area controlled by US forces. This after the group earlier confirmed 52 people were wounded in the blast near Baron hotl and at Abbey Gate in Kabul airport.
At least 52 injured in twin blasts, says Taliban
At least 52 people were wounded in the blast near Baron Hotel and at Abbey Gate in Kabul airport, said Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban.
UK govt to hold crisis meeting after Kabul airport explosion
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday convened crisis talks after a large explosion at Kabul airport, his office announced. A Downing Street spokesperson said Johnson had been "updated on the situation at the airport in Kabul" and called a meeting of the COBR emergencies committee for later Thursday.
The Ministry of Defence later said on Twitter that "there have been no reported UK military or UK government casualties following the incidents in Kabul.
'Horrific terrorist attack' says NATO chief after twin bombings kill 13
NATO chief has condemned the twin suicide bombings at the Kabul airport as a "horrific terrorist attack" that targeted desperate Afghans trying to leave the country and the alliance's efforts to evacuate them from Afghanistan.
Jens Stoltenberg tweeted after the explosions on Thursday: "I strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack outside Kabul airport. My thoughts are with all those affected and their loved ones. Our priority remains to evacuate as many people to safety as quickly as possible."
France seeks to evacuate 'several hundred' more from Kabul: Macron
France is still seeking to evacuate hundreds more people from Afghanistan ahead of a looming deadline, President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday, warning of an "extremely risky" situation in the wake of blasts around Kabul airport.
"We will do everything we can" to bring to France these Afghan citizens and dual nationals who had been in its embassy and are currently outside the perimeter of the airport in 20 buses, Macron said on a visit to Ireland, also confirming that the French ambassador would leave Afghanistan and work from Paris.
Situation deteriorating near Kabul airport: Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron said "the situation has seriously deteriorated" near the Kabul airport after "several explosions happened in the last hours."
Speaking in a news conference during a visit to Dublin, Ireland, Macron said "we are facing an extremely tense situation that makes us coordinate obviously with our American allies and call for the utmost caution in a context we don’t control."
Biden briefed on Afghan airport attack: White House
President Joe Biden is currently in the Situation Room, said a White House official. He was briefed on the situation in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are with him.
Two explosions in Kabul, comfirms Pentagon
A "complex attack" Thursday at the airport in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, where a massive international airlift has been underway, caused a number of US and civilian casualties, the Pentagon said.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said an explosion occurred at the airport's Abbey Gate and there was "at least one other" blast at the nearby Baron Hotel.
"We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties," Kirby said in a tweet.
Twin explosions outside airport caused US and civilian casualties, says Pentagon
The Pentagon Thursday confirmed that the two explosions in 'complex attack' at Kabul airport has caused 'US and civilian casualties', reported AFP.
Visuals of the injured in Kabul blast emerge
Several people wounded in the 'suspected suicide explosion close to Kabul airport have been taken to emergency hospital, reported Tolo News.
No British casualties in 'suicide bomb' explosion
No British casualties so far after a suspected suicide bomb exploded outside Kabul airport, said Larisa Brown, reported
At least 11 people killed in explosion
A Taliban official has said at least 11 people, including foreigners and children, have been killed in the explosion outside Kabul airport, reported Al Jazeera.
Pentagon confirms blast outside Kabul airport
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby confirmed there was an explosion outside of the airport. "We can confirm an explosion outside Kabul airport. Casualties are unclear at this time. We will provide additional details when we can," he said in a tweet.
US officials said earlier on Thursday that concerns about security around the airport have increased based on "a very specific threat stream."
Explosion outside Kabul airport
An explosion went off on Thursday outside the Kabul airport, where thousands of people have gathered to try to flee the country on Western airlift since the Taliban seized power earlier this month. The Pentagon confirmed the blast, with no immediate word on casualties.
Western nations had warned of a possible attack on Kabul's airport in the waning days of the massive evacuation efforts.
Kabul Airport Blast LATEST news updates
Several countries urged people to avoid the airport, where an official said there was a threat of a suicide bombing. But just days - or even hours for some nations - before the evacuation effort ends, few appeared to heed the call.
Over the last week, the airport has been the scene of some of the most searing images of the chaotic end of America's longest war and the Taliban's takeover, as flight after flight took off carrying those who fear a return to the militants' brutal rule.
Already, some countries have ended their evacuations and begun to withdraw their soldiers and diplomats, signaling the beginning of the end of one of history's largest airlifts. The Taliban have so far honored a pledge not to attack Western forces during the evacuation, but insist the foreign troops must be out by America's self-imposed deadline of 31 August.
Overnight, warnings emerged from Western capitals about a threat from Afghanistan's Islamic State group affiliate, which likely has seen its ranks boosted by the Taliban's freeing of prisoners during their blitz across the country.
British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told the BBC early Thursday there was "very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack" at the airport, possibly within "hours".
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said his country had received information from the US and other countries about the "threat of suicide attacks on the mass of people".
The acting US ambassador to Kabul, Ross Wilson, said the security threat at the Kabul airport overnight was "clearly regarded as credible, as imminent, as compelling." But in an interview with ABC News, he would not give details and did not say whether the threat remained.
Shortly after, the blast was reported.
Wilson also said there remain "safe ways" for Americans to reach the airport, but "there undoubtedly will be" Afghans who had worked with or for the US in Afghanistan who will not be able to get out before the evacuation ends.
Late Wednesday, the US Embassy warned citizens at three airport gates to leave immediately due to an unspecified security threat. Australia, Britain and New Zealand also advised their citizens Thursday not to go to the airport, with Australia's foreign minister saying there was a "very high threat of a terrorist attack."
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid earlier denied that any attack was imminent.
Earlier Thursday, the Taliban sprayed a water cannon at those gathered at one airport gate to try to drive the crowd away, as someone launched tear gas canisters elsewhere. While some fled, others just sat on the ground, covered their faces and waited in the noxious fumes.
Nadia Sadat, a 27-year-old Afghan, carried her 2-year-old daughter with her outside the airport. She and her husband, who had worked with coalition forces, missed a call from a number they believed was the State Department and were trying to get into the airport without any luck. Her husband had pressed ahead in the crowd to try to get them inside.
"We have to find a way to evacuate because our lives are in danger," Sadat said. "My husband received several threatening messages from unknown sources. We have no chance except escaping."
Gunshots later echoed in the area as Sadat waited. "There is anarchy because of immense crowds," she said, blaming the US for the chaos.
Aman Karimi, 50, escorted his daughter and her family to the airport, fearful the Taliban would target her because of her husband's work with NATO.
"The Taliban have already begun seeking those who have worked with NATO," he said. "They are looking for them house-by-house at night."
Many Afghans share those fears. The hard-line Islamic group wrested back control of the country nearly 20 years after being ousted in a US-led invasion following the 9/11 attacks, which al-Qaida orchestrated while being sheltered by the group.
Senior US officials said Wednesday's warning from the embassy was related to specific threats involving the Islamic State group and potential vehicle bombs. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss ongoing military operations.
The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan grew out of disaffected Taliban members who hold an even more extreme view of Islam. The Sunni extremists have carried out a series of brutal attacks, mainly targeting Afghanistan's Shiite Muslim minority, including a 2020 assault on a maternity hospital in Kabul in which they killed women and infants.
The Taliban have fought against Islamic State militants in Afghanistan. But IS fighters were likely freed from prisons along with other inmates during the Taliban's rapid advance. Extremists may have seized heavy weapons and equipment abandoned by Afghan troops.
Amid the warnings and the pending American withdrawal, Canada ended its evacuations, and European nations halted or prepared to stop their own operations.
"The reality on the ground is the perimeter of the airport is closed. The Taliban have tightened the noose. It's very, very difficult for anybody to get through at this point," said Canadian General Wayne Eyre, the country's acting Chief of Defense Staff.
Lt. Col. Georges Eiden, Luxembourg's army representative in neighboring Pakistan, said that Friday would mark the official end for US allies. But two Biden administration officials denied that was the case.
A third official said that the US worked with its allies to coordinate each country's departure, and some nations asked for more time and were granted it.
"Most depart later in the week," he said, while adding that some were stopping operations Thursday. All three officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the information publicly.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex told RTL radio his country's efforts would stop Friday evening. Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen bluntly warned: "It is no longer safe to fly in or out of Kabul."
Denmark's last flight has already departed, and Poland and Belgium have also announced the end of their evacuations. The Dutch government said it had been told by the US to leave Thursday.
But Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said some planes would continue to fly.
"Evacuation operations in Kabul will not be wrapping up in 36 hours. We will continue to evacuate as many people as we can until the end of the mission," he said in a tweet.
The Taliban have said they'll allow Afghans to leave via commercial flights after the deadline next week, but it remains unclear which airlines would return to an airport controlled by the militants. Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said talks were underway between his country and the Taliban about allowing Turkish civilian experts to help run the facility.
The Taliban have promised to return Afghanistan to security and pledged they won't seek revenge on those who opposed them or roll back progress on human rights. But many Afghans are skeptical.
An Afghan journalist from private broadcaster Tolo News described being beaten by Taliban. Ziar Yad said the fighters also beat his colleague and confiscated their cameras, technical equipment and a mobile phone as they tried to report on poverty in Kabul.
"The issue has been shared with Taliban leaders; however, the perpetrators have not yet been arrested, which is a serious threat to freedom of expression," Yad wrote on Twitter.
abul Airport Blast LIVE news updates: Taliban condemns bombing, says explosion took place in area controlled by US forces